NEWS

Pot suspensions prompt review of Chilliwack school policy

10/03/2013 01:19 EDT | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST
The Chilliwack school district says it's planning a policy review after 11 students who admitted to smoking marijuana on a school trip were suspended for the semester.

On Monday morning, 12 students from Sardis Secondary were called to the principal's office to discuss the allegations of drug use, which apparently took place last month during an overnight soccer trip to Surrey.

Eleven of those students admitted to smoking pot, as well as breaking curfew, and were consequently kicked out of school for the entire semester.

The parent of one of the suspended students, however, felt the punishment went too far.

Derek Middleton met with school officials and eventually had his son's suspension overturned, though the teen must now complete community service and participate in a course that explore the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

"To me, with today's system — even in the justice system — restorative justice is a better system. I think that plan can also be in the school in a situation like this," Middleton said.

Evelyn Novak, superintendent of the Chilliwack school district, said a review is necessary following harsh criticisms from parents who felt the punishment was too extreme.  But she said a policy change is not necessarily assured.

"When we talk review, we're not necessarily going to change our regulation or policy. But we are trying to look at making sure we do reflect our community and that we do listen to parents," she said.

The 10 students removed from Sardis Secondary will finish out the semester at other school in the Chilliwack district.

The review is planned for early next year.

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